Revision thoughts 1.0

 Coverbook - Schumacher's Small is Beautiful

As I enter the final, inhuman and degrading phase of this academic year, a.k.a. revision, I have decided to start posting some thoughts, quotes, memorable ideas that I hope I will take with me into the exam rooms and possibly into my future life (assuming I will have one). These will sometimes be followed by my crucial follow-up insight [in italics], for the benefit of humanity and posterity at large.

So here goes… First, some thougths on the global political economy:

1. Gerschenkron distanced himself from deterministic visions of prerequisite, explaining that – even if present in England or Germany – each country had its own path to follow. There is no such a thing as a ‘stage scheme’ of development. [which means, in the network society and information economy, we need to focus on new paths and strategies of development to lift countries out of poverty]

2. There should be more emphasis on internal rather than external integration of developing countries’ economies: dense linkages between sectors, high local demand for local products, generated by high levels of wages for workers to become consumers. Export demand should not be the main source of economic growth: rather, a socially and sectorally integrated economic structure (Robert Wade). [which I read as: let’s concentrate on creating aggregate demand, increasing consumers’ purchase power, building local entrepreneurialism, and the big investments will follow]

3. The liberal market was created at some huge human cost. [to me: if we can achieve similar results without having to go through the same levels of human suffering, environmental destruction, social disintegration, political upheaval, all the better. Keep it small, which as known is beautiful]

4. The organization and functioning of monetary and financial systems are rarely influenced by narrow economic logic of maximising efficiency. They also reflect various political rationales relating to the pursuit of power, ideas, and interests (John Ravenhill). [which means: it’s pointless to attack the capitalist system without addressing first the roots of its political and ideological power – the concept of competitive maximisation of profit at the heart of the American political system]

More pearls to follow soon, stay tuned!

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3 responses to “Revision thoughts 1.0

  1. bettinathenomad

    Hey, I like your thoughts on interior market integration. I’m currently writing a paper on the Latin American export economies of the 19th century (please don’t ask why… I’d rather have done the 20th too) and we can clearly see the lack of an interior market there.

  2. Thanks, Bettinathenomad!

    In truth, the counterargument to this would be: how can we expect to build internal linkages when economic globalisation and global financial flows are undermining states’ capacity to manage their economies?

    But then, I am still not convinced this is so true. China and India seem to manage perfectly well, and Venezuela has just re-nationalised its oil industry. So there you go. Everyone is right. And wrong…

  3. bettinathenomad

    Well, I guess it depends a bit on the individual country’s financial resources… China and India have fast-growing economies and Venezuela has its petrodollars, so it can afford to nationalise its oil industry. My conclusion is that the answer is, as per usual, “it depends…”

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